Now Brewing

“…’s word was different.”

“…’s word was different.”

with those words on a whatsapp chat began the loss of good fun this morning, just about an hour ago.

we’re five of us on that thread, i am in singapore, the others are in four different cities in india. it’s a casual, relaxed thread where we chat about our daily work on losing weight mostly: exercise, food, gorging, not gorging, walking, lazing. and where, since sometime in january, we play wordle.

of course, the whole world apparently plays wordle. at least, the world in which we find ourselves, which of course is not the whole world. despite my instinct to un-herd, i gave the game a try, mainly because i like words. it reminded me of mastermind, a board game we used to play as kids. and it had a happy simplicity to it. the words were randomly selected i felt, and the maker was pleased if you cracked it. that was the feeling i had. i slipped into the routine of doing the “wordle” every morning.

on the thread, we’d post our jab at it, the now so recognisable “mosaic.” a little discussion or “oh wow,” etc., would happen. and we’d go on with our day. a couple of weeks ago, i was stuck at the fifth try, only one more chance left. two possible solutions. i looked at a friend’s mosaic, she had got it in two tries, staring at the yellow and greens of her first ord, i got the essential clue i needed to make a choice between my two options. it was a moment of absolute fun to solve a friend’s try word. i thought it could be a thing… guess a friend’s guess once in a way.

yesterday, it was “drama.” my cousin’s first attempt. she got the right word of course in the next try.

it was my cousin who wrote her daughter’s word was different.

a friend asked, “not xyz?”

a monosyllabic “no” from my cousin.

i thought, she must be wrong and immediately shot off two messages saying that can’t be right, all wordles with the same number would be the same…

and it was around this moment that i thought,

wait…

wait.

nyt.

i deleted my two too quick replies.

the new york times has just bought wordle as you may well know. i had not thought of it as a good thing when it happened. i knew something essential would change. a “corporitazion” kind of thing would transpire, the “big name/company” syndrome. if not immediately, eventually. it happened sooner than i expected. i could sense the nature of the words changing and said as much. have a feeling my friends thought i was biased, overreacting. could my cousin be right? could my niece in faraway austin, texas have got a different word?

i ran to check. and there it was. nyt had changed the original word… it was too “obscure” apparently. but then there was a glitch. the migration from the original wordle site with the powerlanguage.co.uk url had not taken place automatically on some browsers. and so… yeah, different wordles on feb 15, 2022.

one might say, oh, that’s not an issue, no big deal. but funnily, it is.

it was the simplicity of wordle that got me. i didn’t even bother to find out everything about the creator and the love of his life for whom he made this word game. i didn’t want to over-google this light and chatty five-minutes of my day game. it was a silly collar tug moment in the morning and a giggle with your friends. not work, not ugly competition, it was like a shared laugh. yes, yes, my husband did want to compete, but only because he knows how much i won’t. also, everyone who played, had the same word. and it came from a human being, not a media juggernaut who hadn’t got to be a media juggernaut on love and fresh air.

there was something unspoilt about wordle. and it must have had something to do with the way it was created by a person who was in love, with a target audience of one. even after she got involved with finding words for the game as it grew amongst their whatsapp threads and then one fine day to the entire whatsapp, twitter, soc med world, that clean, independent air remained.

sadly, this attack of the big i’ve seen in many things. remember the taste of ben and jerry’s before unilever took over? for that matter, whatsapp before it got bought by facebook… instagram too. there’s a crazy homogenizing and herding of all in a certain way… manipulation really is the word… that goes on, that we don’t even realise.

not all big is horrid, but most of it, alas, is. it somehow taints the thing it touches. reasons are many or maybe not, i am sure everyone can figure out in less than six tries what these may be.

pity, the “big” bug has spread everywhere… jewellery, fashion, weddings, language. there’s even the ultimate seeker of big, giving us “bigly.” a wordle word that.

i checked today’s word, and on different browsers. think the glitch is gone. but not the inevitable nature change of wordle. there are reports of “slave,” “wench,” “pupal” being removed from the archives. political correctness, some say… but why pupal? little pre-insects are sending us for our smelling salts? other words are being cut and pruned to suit some company’s idea of what we should and shouldn’t read, play with, love, solve. there’s even been some change in the font.

they won’t stop at this, wench, my mind growls.

at the pupal stage itself, they’ll change the dna.

but you have a choice, don’t be a slave to a habit.

go to the agora and speak your mind.

agora was that word too “obscure” for nyt. think i’ll go and look up some more banned and banished words and start playing my own game.


You Might Also Like

No Comments

    Leave a Reply